Open mike 20/04/2024

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, April 20th, 2024 - 95 comments
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Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Step up to the mike …

95 comments on “Open mike 20/04/2024 ”

  1. Ad 1

    This won't be the last time this Cabinet gets in trouble with the judiciary.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/politics/350249617/lawyers-politicians-battle-over-waitangi-tribunals-oranga-tamariki-inquiry

    And the question that will follow will be: will this government simply legislate to eradicate the Waitangi Tribunal?

    After all by wiping out the RMA they've already smashed the guardrails of the entire Environment Court judiciary already.

    Finally our hard right can get to properly targeting the "activist" judiciary in the Appeals and Supreme Court.

    • Traveller 1.1

      AFAIK the WT is not part of the judiciary. It’s a commission of enquiry, not a court.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 1.2

      Might inconvenient courts/commissions be fast-tracked for 'fixing'? Time will tell.
      Aotearoa is small, with poverty aplenty. Trust 'our' CoC govt to be fair? That’s a joke sad

  2. Joe90 2

    In March ACT reckoned school lunch programmes were nothing more than a marketing campaign, with wasteful spending that's verging on criminal, and need to go. A month and a shitty poll later ACT reckons they're the ones that are saving the school lunch programme.

    Wankers

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/checkpoint/audio/2018928617/healthy-lunches-programme-wasteful-spending-act

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/bay-of-plenty-times/news/free-school-lunches-david-seymour-says-the-government-is-saving-the-programme/BGIEYIWJFFHHDCNUV57U2KKUNI/

  3. Joe90 3

    Brain worms?

    /

    @MonmouthPoll

    NATIONAL POLL: Nearly 1 in 5 Americans (18%) believe @TaylorSwift13 is part of a covert government effort to reelect @POTUS Biden. Among this group, 71% identify with the GOP, 83% are likely to vote for Trump, and 73% believe Biden won 2020 by fraud.

    https://www.monmouth.edu/pollinginstitute/reports/MonmouthPoll_US_021424/

    https://twitter.com/MonmouthPoll/status/1757797491829821651

    • Sanctuary 3.1

      We just have accept the fact 40% of Americans are objectively disconnected from reality. Exceptionalism, a hyper-partisan and insular media, relentless targeting by brain rotting social media algorithms, deep seated racism, crushing terms and conditions of work and very poor levels of public education combined with a specific American style of paranoia have seen to that.

      • Ad 3.1.1

        An adventurous president of either party would propose legislation to make the big tech platforms subject to the same broadcasting regulations as tv news, and subject to publishing libel laws.

        It's a clear bipartisan need.

      • Visubversa 3.1.2

        Not only are they disconnected from reality – they also have guns. Lots of guns.

    • Craig H 3.2

      Not sure how covert it is – the elected part of government is always angling for re-election at least for their party members if not themselves in the case of those retiring.

  4. Adrian 4

    I have a suspicion that the current winnowing out of the public service is nothing more than a pogrom targeting those with an even slightly different political viewpoint to that of the current mal-administration. Admittedly my “ reckon “ is only based on a few short cryptic conversations with a few affected persons, but what if this is really the case? . It would mean that this is a very serious deviation from our history as a fairly benign political climate. Are NactF the real enemy within?

    • Descendant Of Smith 4.1

      They have always done this through various means while in power.

      Apart from the sheer wastage of money employing the bullshit brigade to state the obvious that public servants have for decades worked to rule for fear of keeping their jobs, one imagines it would be difficult for staff to start believing they no longer needed to keep heads well below parapets.

      For years public servants who have given private voice to a political opinion at variance with government policy, have learned quickly that he or she who dares to speak their mind out loud, doesn't belong.

      https://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/columnists/68614620/bowron-going-blue-makes-me-see-red

      And why else would they take on large numbers of new people just before making well forecast cuts if not to replace.

      • Descendant Of Smith 4.1.1

        https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2024/04/staff-affected-by-public-sector-job-cuts-slam-leaders-handling-of-announcements.html

        The policy advisor said the ministry had given a stark warning about speaking to media and people were scared about the consequences if they did.

        "We are not waste. How dare you reference us in that way. We are humans. People who worked tirelessly for the ministry – long long hours because, well, that's what we committed to do for you.

        Through a modicum of luck I suspect, none of my family in the public service have yet been affected. Ironically one in the private sector contracting to the public sector has.

        They like many others worked lots of hours during covid and floods often for no extra pay, worked on weekends they normally would not, and so on. This relies on internal good will and a desire to serve the public. The latter won't wane but the former will – governments attacking public service always underestimate how many hours public servants work to get jobs done without expecting more pay. I know how many hours one of my cousins has been working. She has quite clearly said to me she will be cutting back if not just working her hours. Some are learning the hard way that there is no real thanks from your employer for this effort.

        You’re just a number.

    • Anne 4.2

      " Are NactF the real enemy within?"

      I believe so.

      You only have to look at what the individual public service entities are doing across the board. Its a slash and smash exercise doomed to bring about ultimate failure. You can't cut the heart out of a body and expect it to survive.

      I fear that as each entity agency apart, this government will blame them for the failure and replace them with private corporate entities pliant to their whims and fancies.

      I have become more and more convinced that is the end game.

      • Anne 4.2.1

        oops… as each agency falls apart,…

      • David 4.2.2

        Well they are the government, elected by the people of this country, so I’m not sure how they can be the enemy within.

        • Anne 4.2.2.1

          Yeah… 38% voted National 62% didn't. But that's not the point! They are, in actual fact, doing the opposite to what they said they would do. They claimed they were going to solve the health crisis, the education crisis, the economic crisis… military crisis, transport crisis, environmental crisis and social crisis.

          So what do they do? They bash, slash and smash so none of them are going to be fit for purpose. That's not solving crisis' that's accelerating them.

          • David 4.2.2.1.1

            If only 38% voted for the government, & 62% did not vote for the government, how is it that we currently have the government we currently have?

            This is the same conversation I had back in 2017, except it was with ardent National & ACT supporters.

            • Anne 4.2.2.1.1.1

              Ignore the actual point of my comment if you wish. Not my problem. It's yours.

              • Phillip ure

                Wot Anne said ..

              • David

                Hmm okay, but they are the duly elected government. Every time we have a change of government, one side or the other commences moaning and predicts that the end of the world is coming.

                • Phillip ure

                  Nah..!..David..

                  This lot are rogernomics redux..

                  They don't give a fuck about hurting the most vulnerable..all in the name of their rightwing ideology…backed by the opportunists that are NZ 1st .

                  And all this heavily laced with racism…

                  They are so ugly…

                  And there is one outcome from this con job they ran during the election campaign..

                  Any campaign for four years terms is dead in the water..

                  • Traveller

                    Not only are they the duly elected government, as David says, National signalled clearly in advance of the election what they planned. Apart from all of the generalised rhetoric around reducing spending more broadly, there was this:

                    instruct public sector Chief Executives to start identifying back-office savings and report their spending on consultants, 100 Day Action Plan (national.org.nz)

                    Reduce spending on back-office functions in government departments by $594 million per year (less than 0.5 per cent of total government spending) to fund National’s Back Pocket Boost tax relief plan Rebuilding_the_economy.pdf (nationbuilder.com)

                    Soon after the conclusion of the coalition agreement with ACT, David Seymour was talking about 'thousands' of jobs being cut. Thousands of government jobs to be cut, new minister suggests (1news.co.nz)

                    If the government was not following through on this, we'd be accusing them of breaking their promises.

                  • David

                    Phillip, my comment(s) is a reaction to the people who suggest that the government is somehow illegitimate, and that they don’t represent the people.

                    Every time we have a change of government, I’ve had discussions with people who for some reason cannot comprehend that we have elections and governments change.

                    • Phillip ure

                      Of course they have the numbers…but given the opportunist party that is NZ first ..this dilutes somewhat the far-right mandate they claim to have..

                      What is also different this time is that national have lurched to the right..it can now be said that national are act with the mask on..and act are national with the mask off…

                      And so much of what they are doing is so irrational…the trashing of the environment protections arrived at by a consensus between labour/national..is no more..(have we heard from the blue-greens yet…?…their thoughts on this ..

                      And I am not one who believes every national voter wants to trash the environment..and I am sure a portion of their voters are somewhat aghast…at what is proposed…at what is being done..in their name ..

                      All of this is only part of what makes this government different…

                      And arguably without a mandate for much of what is now being done ..

          • Traveller 4.2.2.1.2

            This link provides the numbers for the total public sector workforce in NZ from 2000 through 2023. Workforce Data – Workforce size – Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission. This is useful, because it compares the growth in the public sector during the Ardern/Hipkins government with previous National and Labour governments.

            In 2000, at the beginning of the Clark Labour government, the total number of public sector employees in NZ (excluding local government) was 254,971. By 2008, that number had grown by 24% to 60,949. In the 9 years of the Key/English government, the number of employees grew a further 8% to 341,304. Then in just 6 years of the Ardern/Hipkins government, the number of public sector employees grew by 20% to 408,178.

            Between 2001 and 2017, the number of public sector employees grew by 34%, at a time when NZ’s population grew by 23% (New Zealand Population Growth Rate 1950-2024 | MacroTrends). Between 2017 and 2023, the public sector grew by 20%, when population only grew by 10%.

            What is occurring in 2024 is not "bash, slash and smash". It is not a ‘pogrom’ or a ‘winnowing out’. It is a much needed re-balancing of the public sector after a period of poorly targeted expenditure that failed on multiple fronts.

            To quote the headline of this paywalled article Planned cuts to the public service so far won’t even wind back the last six months of expansion – Public Purse – NZ Herald. "Planned cuts to the public service so far won’t even wind back the last six months of expansion.".

            • Phillip ure 4.2.2.1.2.1

              Seeing as you have all the facts at your fingertips..

              Could you tell us how much the population grew during those key-years..?

              I guess I am wondering if the public service needed to make up for nine years of not enough to keep up with population growth..from that key gummint…

              • SPC

                4.26 to 4.76M.

              • Traveller

                "I guess I am wondering if the public service needed to make up for nine years of not enough to keep up with population growth..from that key gummint…"

                The population grew by around 11% during the Key years, the public sector grew by 8% (as per above). So let's say the last government had 3% to make up; that doesn't go anywhere near explaining how an increase of double the population growth can be justified.

                • Phillip ure

                  There are also other factors to consider:

                  So we have that three percent catch-up..but what would also need to be under consideration is changing demands on that public service.. necessitating an increase in staff to answer that demand..

                  I can think of numerous examples of this.. without even trying…

                  And for the case to be made of too rapid expansion…based on the demands of/at 2017…must surely be a nonsense…?

                  So…how many percentage points can we give that undoubted factor..?..the changing/increasing demands on the public service..(7%..?…10%..?)

                  So often just the numbers..nuance free..can provide a distorted picture..can they not..?

                  • Traveller

                    I would argue that the very idea that the public service should necessarily increase by the same rate as population growth is a nonsense. But parking that, IMHO the main factor to consider is whether the growth in size of the public service led to improved outcomes. There are any number of examples to illustrate this was not the case.

                    1. In education, staff numbers rose by 10% from 2017 through 2023, which matches population growth. Yet education outcomes fell.

                    2. In health, staff numbers rose 29%, nearly three times the rate of population growth. Of course some of that is pandemic related, but the headcount increased by 10% in the 2 years 2022, and 2023, when pandemic related expenditure should have been declining significantly.

                    3. In the 'Public Service' category, staff numbers rose 32%, more than 3x the rate of population growth.

                    I would challenge anyone to show an equivalent increase/improvement in outcomes. There has a lot written about this across a number of sources, but as one example, take FENZ. The Taxpayers Union commissioned a report on the governance of FENZ since its formation in 2017. 240301_cp_report_upinsmoke.pdf (nationbuilder.com) The organisations operating expenditure has gone from $496m in 2018 to $737m in 2023. That's a 49% increase in 5 years. What is particularly concerning is this (I quote the full paragraph for balance):

                    "Management and support staff have increased by 31% over the five-year period from 2017/18 to 2022/23 whilst career firefighters and volunteer numbers have only increased by 5% over the same period. At the time of the merger, management and support FTEs supported 15 career firefighters and volunteers. By 2023, this had reduced to 12 career firefighters and volunteers."

                    In the interests of balance, I quote:

                    "However, there may be justification for some increase in management and support staff. Price Waterhouse Coopers reported that the corporate centre of the predecessor organisation might be too lean, leading to many operational and strategic planning deficiencies."

                    Some, maybe. 31%? And clearly at the expense of frontline staff?

                    • Phillip ure

                      @traveller..

                      See post of business roundtable report (below)..by d.o.s…

                      Then get back to us…

                    • Descendant Of Smith

                      In health, staff numbers rose 29%, nearly three times the rate of population growth. Of course some of that is pandemic related, but the headcount increased by 10% in the 2 years 2022, and 2023, when pandemic related expenditure should have been declining significantly.

                      The pandemic isn't over and there is also a rapidly aging population. Hospitals are now having to cope with three main seasonal outbreaks:
                      1. Cold virus
                      2. Influenza virus
                      3. COVID-19 virus (2618 active cases and 152 in hospital as we speak)

                      The lockdown response was to delay spread while capacity was built up in the health system. I would expect there to be more capacity and staffing in the health system now than in 2020 / 2021.

                      COVID demands more resources including ICU (which was massively underbedded when the virus hit). This includes more resources not only in frontline medical but in things like data analytics to monitor and track outbreaks.

                      They also are having to play catch-up to all the operations etc delayed during the pandemic. You cannot do this overnight. It takes a long time.

                      You may think the pandemic is over and things can get back to "normal" pre-pandemic levels – medical professionals and WHO do not.

                  • Traveller

                    See post of business roundtable report (below)..by d.o.s…

                    Then get back to us…

                    The balls back in DoS's court, Phillip.

                    • Phillip ure

                      Given as you are given to rely on numbers when making your case .I am kinda puzzled by your studious ignoring of the huge differences in what we pay for our public service..and what the likes of countries like Sweden/Norway pay (i.e.double..).and that we are under the oecd average..

                      And given the above…what is the actual problem here..?

                      After scrutiny..our public service comes out as cost-efficient..

                      ..and those numbers make a mockery of this concerted campaign to not only cut the numbers of employees…but in the process to also demean them as some sort of leech on our society..

                      They do not deserve this treatment ..

                      ..it is just a tissue of ideology -driven lies..

                  • Traveller

                    "And given the above…what is the actual problem here..?"

                    There are a number of problems:

                    1. There is every possibility the private sector is about to go through a very difficult time (Business journalist Liam Dann warns 30,000 New Zealand jobs could go over coming year | Newshub). It is the private sector that pays for the public service, let's not forget that.

                    2. The public sector growth between 2017 and 2023 has not been matched by corresponding improvements in service. It could be argued some sectors have gone backwards.

                    3. NZ faces structural deficits, that are, at least in part, the result of government spending.

                    4. To the genesis of this conversation (the heroic claims about the changes being made), these are misleading and disturbing to the people you are rightly speaking out for, some of whom are my friends.

                    I don't see any relevance in the overall spending comparisons. The trend in NZ appears to have been away from the frontline to back-office support functions. That needs to change.

                    • Descendant Of Smith

                      Be interesting what you actually think went backwards. Some things take time to fix eg bulldozing state houses. You can't suddenly magic up state houses.

                      It is the private sector that pays for the public service, let's not forget that.

                      It is circular. Much of the private sector depends on the public sector and would not exist without it. Roading, school builds, housing builds, office cleaning, disability support – all these things were once done within the public service. There is no evidence they are cheaper under the private sector and plenty that they are not – apart from apparently rubbish collection.

                      Benefit expenditure ensures money in the local economy. When Ruth Richardson cut benefits there were about fifty small local businesses went bust over the next six months. Both need each other.

                      The real issue is the accumulation of profit and capital which does not circulate in the economy.

                    • Phillip ure

                      Number one…you are talking apples and oranges as far as this discussion is concerned..

                      Number two:..that comes across as a reckon by you…not backed up by any evidence..

                      3..and as a result of the failure to introduce capital gains tax/land tax/estate duties etc ..as most other oecd countries have..

                      And am puzzled by your denial of any 'relevance'…that we pay half what Sweden/Norway pay…

                      ..surely this is the case you/the gummint is making..that we have to cut public service numbers..to cut the cost…

                  • Traveller

                    Number one…you are talking apples and oranges as far as this discussion is concerned..

                    Not so. If the economy is shrinking, and the private sector has to tighten it's belt, so should the public sector. Especially when it has grown so heavily in rceent years.

                    Number two:..that comes across as a reckon by you…not backed up by any evidence..

                    There are ample examples. I've givena couple here https://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-20-04-2024/#comment-1997250.

                    3..and as a result of the failure to introduce capital gains tax/land tax/estate duties etc ..as most other oecd countries have..

                    Perhaps. But that was a call Ardern made.

                    And am puzzled by your denial of any 'relevance'…that we pay half what Sweden/Norway pay…..surely this is the case you/the gummint is making..that we have to cut public service numbers..to cut the cost…

                    I don't consider international comparisons to be as relevant. This conversation specifically has been about the OTT reaction to cuts in PS numbers, and how (I have argued) this reaction ignores the rapid rise in PS staffing in recent years, and the poor outcomes achieved.

            • Descendant Of Smith 4.2.2.1.2.2

              From a group that isn't normally friendly to the public service the old Business Round Table.

              https://www.publicservice.govt.nz/assets/DirectoryFile/Report-NZ-Initiative-research-note-on-the-size-of-the-Public-Service-workforce.pdf

              From 2017 to 2022 the Public Service grew 27.8% as the Government invested in the capability of the Public Service following unprecedented population growth and with significant additional resources required to support Government’s COVID-19 response. We have provided you and the previous Minister with a number of reports specifically to this growth.

              We agree with the author that international comparisons of Public Service effectiveness show New Zealand to be a high performer. Countries that perform comparably, like Norway and Denmark, spend nearly double as much on their public service per capita compared to New Zealand. In the 2021 OECD Government at a Glance report, NZ’s ‘general government expenditure’ is around US$18,000 per capita, compared with around US$30,000 for Denmark, and US$35,000 for Norway. New Zealand’s spending per capital is also below the OECD average of around US$20,000 and Australian spending of around US$22,000.

              Most of the growth in the Public Service has been in frontline jobs. All our measures of government effectiveness suggest the New Zealand Public Service is among the highest performing public services in the world. The New Zealand Public Service is delivering excellent value for money – the best outcomes and services for New Zealanders. That is what matters. The countries that perform comparably, like Norway and Denmark, spend nearly double as much on their public service per capita compared to New Zealand.

              • Phillip ure

                Nice one..!..(first time I've said that about the business roundtable…those incorrigible lefties..)

                I am looking forward to the answer/mea culpa owed by traveller ..

                I wonder how those numbers are going down..

              • Traveller

                Either you didn't read the document, or you’re being deliberately misleading.

                The document is not written by 'the Old Business Roundtable'.

                The document is a report prepared by the PSC on research conducted by the NZ Initiative.

                The document includes this:

                "we have provided your office talking points and have undertaken detailed review pending any further public discussion."

                These 'talking points' are little more than a series of excuses.

                • Descendant Of Smith

                  You obviously missed this bit.

                  We agree with the author that international comparisons of Public Service effectiveness show New Zealand to be a high performer.

                  Countries that perform comparably, like Norway and Denmark, spend nearly double as much on their public service per capita compared to New Zealand. In the 2021 OECD Government at a Glance report, NZ’s ‘general government expenditure’ is around US$18,000 per capita, compared with around US$30,000 for Denmark, and US$35,000 for Norway. New Zealand’s spending per capital is also below the OECD average of around US$20,000 and Australian spending of around US$22,000.

                  Much of the rest of the report basically says the public service shrinks under national and grows under Labour and that they are increasing the inhouse capacity and reducing contractors.

                  The point I was making is the the report, by a group who is not friendly to the public service clearly shows NZ public service performing well – not perfect but well.

                  This is pointed out in several places in their report. 2nd highest ranking in Table 7: Civil Service Effectiveness scores by Country in 2019 for instance, 23rd out of 209 in the world bank rankings with a score well above 90.

                  They have always had an obsession about the size and lets not forget that most of them profited off the sale of government activity to themselves. You seem to share the same obsession.

                  • Traveller

                    I didn't miss anything. You misrepresented the report as being written by the Business Roundtable. You misrepresented the comments you quoted in italics in your comment above as having been written by the Business Roundtable. So, rather than selectively quote from a report you thought you were reading but weren't, here's a link to the report so you can: 801 (nzinitiative.org.nz). In the meantime, here's a taste:

                    "Compared with 2000, or even 2017, tens of billions of dollars more are being spent annually for litle discernible public benefit. Journalist Danyl McLauchlan cites then-Minister of Health, Andrew Litle, as noting that billions more had been spent on health, and that “it did not appear to have made a difference”."

                    "Public Service Commission statistcs show that salaries of “informtion specialists” increased by $380 million, or 85%, between 2017 and 2022. Spending on managerial salaries rose by $429 million or 61%. Spending on policy analysts rose by 55%, at $140 million. By 2022 spending on the salaries of information professionals was double the spending on policy analysts."

                    • Descendant Of Smith

                      You misrepresented the report as being written by the Business Roundtable.

                      No I didn't. The link was quite clear about who and where I was quoting from. If I had the link to the actual report I would have added it but I had previously read it and knew that there were stats in there that said the public service was good. It is one of the few times I though that they at least had the decency to show the actual international performance ratings.

                      "Public Service Commission statistics show that salaries of “inforomtion specialists” increased by $380 million, or 85%, between 2017 and 2022. Spending on managerial salaries rose by $429 million or 61%. Spending on policy analysts rose by 55%, at $140 million. By 2022 spending on the salaries of information professionals was double the spending on policy analysts."

                      That doesn't mean anything in terms of effectiveness. You think there shouldn't be policy experts or analysts in these days of big data. You think there should be less or are there not enough.

                      One of the interesting aspects of course is that many of those managers have come from the private sector. So do they simply become useless once they join the public service and when they go back do they become wonderful again? Like how does this work – revered one day and scorned the next.

                  • Traveller

                    "No I didn't. "

                    Now you're being straight out dishonest.

                    You said "From a group that isn't normally friendly to the public service the old Business Round Table."

                    Then you quoted from the talking points written by the PSC.

                    Phillip knew exactly what you were implying when he wrote:

                    "(first time I've said that about the business roundtable…those incorrigible lefties..)"

                    • Descendant Of Smith

                      I knew what was in my head and what I was referring to. If it came across different that wasn't intended. Again I think it is clear that both myself and the PSC were talking about the information in the original paper when referring to it that says the public service in NZ is efficient and cost effective.

                      I don't think this can be any clearer.

                      We agree with the author that international comparisons of Public Service effectiveness show New Zealand to be a high performer.

                      Growth stuff is really just a red herring. We all know national reduces and Labour increases – that isn't ever going to change.
                      We all know National kicks people off waiting lists and hides the problems and Labour puts them back on. We all know National doesn't need policy experts because they know how to fix everything all by themselves cause they are specially gifted with insight. Policy expertise that disagrees with them is just another version of truth eg bootcamps – there's another expert that will say something different.

                      I'm old enough to see this cycle several times – that's why this stuff about growth is bad is just bullshit. Neither you nor I have any idea what those people are doing, whether it is useful or not.

                  • Traveller

                    "We agree with the author that international comparisons of Public Service effectiveness show New Zealand to be a high performer."

                    DoS, with all respect you are quoting from the advisory (which contains a number of inaccuracies) without reading the original report.

                    The NZI report contains two appendices that cover this issue, neither of which support the claim made by the briefing from the PSC.

                    Appendix 2, page 26 contains a list of ‘Country scores for Government Effectiveness in 2021’. On that NZ ranks 24th. Figure 6 of the same appendix shows that NZ government effectiveness dropped from 95.7% in 2017 to 92.8% in 2020.

                    Appendix 3 refers to ‘The International Civil Service Effectiveness Index’. That paints a slightly better picture, until we read that this is primarily based on statistics for 2018. In other words, we can't make any conclusion from this about the effectiveness of spending after that.

                    • Descendant Of Smith

                      There's always a delay in gathering that info. All three rate us highly I have no doubt all three will again. Only time will tell.

                      Given the others with data for 2020 and 2021 when the pandemic hit still shows high performance I wouldn't really expect much change. If we drop a couple of places then that is OK. Will be interesting how so few covid-19 deaths and a more than good vaccination program features in that particular index. We may even go from second to first.

              • Traveller

                "The pandemic isn't over and there is also a rapidly aging population. Hospitals are now having to cope with three main seasonal outbreaks:"

                We have had an aging population since before 2017. And those 'seasonal outbreaks' haven't suddenly popped up just because we had a Labour government.

                • Descendant Of Smith

                  We have had an aging population since before 2017.

                  You realise it is exponential and not flat.

                  Seasonal outbreaks' haven't suddenly popped up just because we had a Labour government.

                  Dick. You well know that COVID happened while Labour was in government and it is on top of other seasonal outbreaks and not instead of.

                  National and ACT of course would have let more people die.

                  • Traveller

                    "You well know that COVID happened while Labour was in government"

                    I wasn't talking about covid. You mentioned seasonal outbreaks of colds and influenza. They are issues the health system has always had to cope with.

                    • Descendant Of Smith

                      You're still being a dick. The point of mentioning all three was to remind that they are on top of each other. Everyone knows the other two have been around for ages. I'm not talking to three year olds here where I have to explain every detailed nuance.

                  • Traveller

                    "Once houses were being built it went into improvement."

                    I'm not sure how you get that impression. In 2017 there were around 5,000 people on the state house waiting list. By December 2023 there were 25,389 (Housing Register – Ministry of Social Development (msd.govt.nz)), and that number had increased by almost 10% over 2022.

                    • Descendant Of Smith

                      Depends what you are measuring. The waiting list reflects the current market failure position and mass immigration. Also there is likely I suspect still quite a hang-over from weather events who don't have homes. That will take longer to solve methinks. In the meantime.

                      Seventy five per cent fewer households in emergency housing.

                      https://www.hud.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/Documents/factsheet-target-8-fewer-people-in-emergency-housing-8april24.pdf

                      An additional 1,000 transitional housing places have been delivered under the Aotearoa New Zealand Homelessness Action Plan.

                      The majority of new transitional housing places (605 out of 1,000) are for families with children and 43 percent are newly constructed homes.

                      Transitional housing is a temporary solution for vulnerable individuals and whānau who otherwise may become homeless.

                      During their stay in transitional housing individuals and whānau receive wrap around support services from Community, Māori and Iwi providers to help them transition into long-term accommodation.

                      https://www.hud.govt.nz/news/1000-more-transitional-housing-places/

                      It is also beyond me why Labour let in so many migrants in the last few years (and so few refugees at the same time)

                  • Traveller

                    "The waiting list reflects the current market failure position and mass immigration. "

                    I would argue that the failure is not the market. The failure is the planning and regulation that limits the market. The market will meet demand over time if the conditions permit. But it's late, so let's not go down that rabbit hole. My view is that waiting lists for social housing (particularly Priority A) is at least one valid measure of homelessness.

                    "Seventy five per cent fewer households in emergency housing."

                    That is good news, and the credit for that certainly goes to the last government.

                    It is also beyond me why Labour let in so many migrants in the last few years (and so few refugees at the same time)

                    Key did the same – it is (my opinion) a cheats way of boosting growth. The thing that got me about the numbers for 2023 was that it seemed to catch so many people by surprise when it was announced.

              • Traveller

                "I would expect there to be more capacity and staffing in the health system now than in 2020 / 2021."

                Here’s what Workforce Data – Occupation – Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission tells us, under “Occupational share of the Public Service Full-Time Equivalent workforce”.

                In 2017, the Social, Health and Education Workers category totalled 18.1% of the total work force. In 2023, that was 17.2%. In 2017, the Managers category was 11.3% of the workforce. In 2023 it was 12.8%.

                So the proportion of managers went up. But the proportion of front line workers went down.

              • Traveller

                "Be interesting what you actually think went backwards."

                Two examples among many:

                Education.

                System in freefall: why NZ children face education tragedy | The New Zealand Initiative (nzinitiative.org.nz)

                In the four years since the 2018 summits, New Zealand’s education system has deteriorated markedly. New Zealand students no longer receive an education that prepares them for life. Despite – or, perhaps, because of – the Government’s frantic activities to reform the sector, New Zealand has entered a period of unlearning.

                Homelessness

                New Zealand’s homeless have been moved off the streets, but the crisis endures | New Zealand | The Guardian

                • Phillip ure

                  Re homelessness:

                  Now you are veering into the failures of the ardern gummint…(..which I can bang on about)..

                  And/but are kinda off-topic..as far as this conversation goes..eh..?

                  • Traveller

                    Actually homelessness is a failure of successive governments. At least the Ardern government acknowledged it. Key's government tried to pretend it didn't exist, IIRR. But it's certainly not off topic. Homelessness is a specific example of an indicator that went backwards, despite the increase in the public service.

                    • Descendant Of Smith

                      Once houses were being built it went into improvement. There has been a large number of homes built. The first government to do so for a long time.

                      Timeframes planned in 2021 opened in 2023.

                      ​​​​​​​https://www.nzherald.co.nz/rotorua-daily-post/news/rotorua-housing-housing-minister-megan-woods-opens-42-home-kainga-ora-development-in-pukehangi/LABLIOXGDVDY5EWEXM7V3APV3Y/

                      And here is my point about the private sector also being dependent on the public sector.

                      https://www.waikatotimes.co.nz/nz-news/350084055/kainga-ora-homes-keeping-builders-afloat

                    • Descendant Of Smith

                      Also because there is no consistency between parties about measuring waiting lists and NZ sucks at measuring unmet need it is almost impossible to measure improvement in this country. In many respects international comparisons are actually much more useful. And whenever there is a real effort to measure across time National cancels it.

                      But those working at the coalface claim the minister is not telling the public:

                      The levels of unmet need are growing unmanageable. The increase in surgeries has not even come close to meeting the demand. Unless a patient's pain is disabling and classified as urgent they no longer get on waiting lists. DHBs are being forced to turn down thousands of needy patients or face financial penalties for not meeting targets.

                      https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/9407033/Waiting-list-double-speak

                      In the space of two weeks, funding has ceased for two of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most up-to-date datasets with longitudinal designs.

                      Longitudinal data tells us how people are doing over time, which means checking in with the same individuals and households over time to understand, as an example, how their income or their wellbeing shifts and in response to policy, economic, and other societal changes.

                      At the end of March Stats NZ quietly cancelled the Living in Aotearoa Survey, its own longitudinal data collection effort, aimed at, among other things, measuring persistent income poverty and material hardship. These measurements were required by the Child Poverty Reduction Act, the seminal piece of poverty legislation passed almost universally (bar Act leader David Seymour) in 2018.

                      https://newsroom.co.nz/2024/04/09/poverty-and-inequity-no-data-no-delivery/

                      These are some of those analyst and policy jobs that are apparently a waste of time.

                    • roblogic

                      National are shite and traitors, but they only got into power because Kiwis were sick of Labour & Ardern's constant failure to make significant progressive reforms, despite all their nice noises and airbrushed photo ops.

                      As @Liquid_Times put it:

                      Does the Labour Party understand the primary reason why they lost the last election? It wasn't Covid, the global economy, co-governance, Atlas or election funding. After 6 years of a Labour govt here's the percentage of Kiwis who want increased govt spending in various areas:

                      New Zealanders want a stronger, more activist government

                      Today’s IPSOS survey report […shows…] proportions of people who want increased spending by government in particular areas:

                      • Healthcare: 83% (and 4% want lower spending)
                      • Public safety: 74% (4% lower)
                      • Education: 71% (5% lower)
                      • Infrastructure: 67% (8% lower)
                      • Reducing poverty and social inequality: 65% (9% lower)
                      • Creating jobs: 55% (7% lower)
                      • Defense and national security: 28% (25% want it lower; 43% want it kept at its current level)

                      Source

    • Dolomedes III 4.3

      Everyone has their suspicions. But you admit there's no real evidence of such a "pogrom" (surely an inflammatory word). The government isn't telling departments to "fire that guy", or "get rid of her"; the government is asking for a % reduction in spending, and leaves the specifics up to the heads of departments. And how likely is the kind of targeting you describe, when so many of our institutions have been captured by "progressive" ideologies? Can you imagine Adrien Orr purging progressives from the Reserve Bank? Or Cuddles Coster purging progressives from the police? If you want a clear example of institutional capture, read any document churned out by the Tertiary Education Commission, and you'll find it's laden with the language of DEI.

      • Tony Veitch 4.3.1

        Cuddles Coster

        You immediately undercut each and every point you attempted to make by using this derogatory name.

  5. joe90 5

    World Press Photo of the Year:

    Palestinian woman Inas Abu Maamar, 36, embraces the body of her 5-year-old niece Saly, who was killed in an Israeli strike, at Nasser hospital in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, October 17, 2023.

    https://www.reuters.com/world/reuters-mohammed-salem-wins-2024-world-press-photo-year-award-2024-04-18/

  6. Reality 6

    A public servant losing their job has said how upsetting it was for Luxon to call those people "waste" and therefore these people should lose their jobs Yes, another tactless, uncaring remark by Luxon. He really has no idea about what to say in these circumstances. Grinning gormlessly around Asia – cringeworthy.

  7. Tabletennis 7

    The Biden Admin has just officially abolished Title IX as we knew it. Now, sex = gender identity.
    In a nutshell, the new rewrite means:
    – men can take academic AND athletic scholarships from women
    – men will have FULL access to bathrooms, locker rooms, etc
    – men could be housed in dorm rooms with women
    – students and faculty MUST compel their speech by requiring the use of preferred pronouns

    If the guidelines above are ignored or even questioned, then YOU can be charged with harassment.
    https://twitter.com/riley_gaines_/status/1781330862115610797?s=46

    • SPC 7.1

      Places of education.

      In the beginning

      Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities

      The change does not prohibit the exclusion of transgender athletes.

      https://apnews.com/article/title-ix-sexual-assault-transgender-sports-d0fc0ab7515de02b8e4403d0481dc1e7

      The administration stressed that while, writ large, exclusion based on gender identity violated Title IX, the new regulations did not extend to single-sex living facilities or sports teams.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2024/04/19/us/politics/biden-title-ix-rules.html

      • Tabletennis 7.1.1

        Thanks for that added info SPC, obviously pressure for fair play in women's sport has resulted in some common sense measure.

        "Notably absent from Biden’s policy, however, is any mention of transgender athletes.

        The administration originally planned to include a new policy forbidding schools from enacting outright bans on transgender athletes, but that provision was put on hold. The delay is widely seen as a political maneuver during an election year in which Republicans have rallied around bans on transgender athletes in girls’ sports.

        The administration reiterated that while exclusion from an activity based on gender identity causes harm, the new rule does not extend to single-sex living facilities or sports teams. The Education Department has proposed a second rule dealing with eligibility for sports teams. The Education Department has proposed a second rule dealing with eligibility for sports teams."
        https://archive.ph/D7AFV#selection-7157.472-7161.43

        (inclusive of a spelling mistake: maneuver instead of manoeuvre)

        • joe90 7.1.1.1

          The awfulness introduced by tRump's regime prompted the changes.

          .

          WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Education on Friday announced a final rule that will update Title IX regulations governing how schools respond to sexual misconduct, undoing changes made under the Trump administration and former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

          […]

          This new rule will roll back Title IX changes overseen by DeVos. Those regulations narrowly defined sexual harassment, and directed schools to conduct live hearings to allow those who were accused of sexual harassment or assault to cross-examine their accusers.

          https://www.govexec.com/management/2024/04/biden-administration-roll-back-betsy-devos-title-ix-rules/395928/

            • Tabletennis 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Charming indeed. from your link:

              • "Colleges must allow live cross-examination by the ‘representative’ of each party’s choosing. This means survivors can be cross-examined by their rapists’ parents, friends, fraternity brothers or sorority sisters greatly increase the risk of re-traumatization. "

                Very worrying, sounds more like a kangaroo court.
                "And you make me do it." or "but, it was consensual".

  8. SPC 8

    The “western” commitment to defend Ukraine from Russia in 2024 is being determined.

    Ukraine is critically dependent on advanced armoury supplies from its Western allies, particularly the US, to be able to continue fighting Russia – a far bigger military force with an abundance of artillery ammunition.

    Ukraine currently has several Patriot systems, but not enough to defend its cities from massive Russian attacks.

    Meanwhile, President Zelensky said … "We need seven more Patriots or similar air defence systems, and it's a minimum number. They can save many lives and really change the situation. You [Nato] have such systems."

    Speaking after the Nato-Ukraine Council summit held by video link, Mr Stoltenberg said: "Nato defence ministers have agreed to step up and provide further military support, including more air defence."

    He said the 32-member bloc "has mapped out existing capabilities across the alliance and there are systems that can be made available to Ukraine".

    "So I expect new announcements on air defence capabilities for Ukraine soon," he added.

    The Nato chief said there were Patriot and other advanced air defence systems available in stocks of Nato countries that could be given to Ukraine – but he gave no details about what exactly Kyiv might get.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-68857046

    After months of delay, the US House of Representatives appears poised to hold a vote on tens of billions of dollars in American military aid for Ukraine and Israel this weekend.

    Mr Johnson's foreign aid proposal provides $60.8bn (£49bn) to Ukraine, $26.4bn to Israel and $8.1bn to the Indo-Pacific region, including Taiwan. The House of Representatives will vote on each component individually, raising the possibility that some components will be approved and others will fail.

    The Speaker is also bringing a fourth piece of legislation to a vote, which includes a requirement that Chinese company ByteDance divest itself of the TikTok social media app, authorising the sale of frozen Russian assets, and imposing new sanctions on Russia, Iran and China.

    Whatever passes will be combined into one bill that will then have to be approved in whole by the Senate before President Joe Biden can sign it into law.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-68848277

  9. Mike the Lefty 9

    I keep seeing items on Facebook credited to the Granny Herald saying that Mike Hosking has resigned from Newstalk ZB. Is it true?

  10. Phillip ure 10

    Heh..!…I just read one of those psychological profile things ..called the nine marks of the confident introvert..

    And it nailed me..!..in a disturbing number of ways..given as we all like to fancy ourselves as being unique ..

    Mind you..it is kinda reassuring to have a label..

    I should get myself a name-tag..saying 'hi..!..hate small talk..wanna go deep..?'

  11. joe90 11

    Well, Dr Cigaretti does have multi-billion dollar tax cuts for landlords and property speculators to fund.

    /

    Prof. Chris Jackson

    @drkiwicj

    The thing about telling hospitals to "live within their means" is that it's govt who decides what those means are. A hiring freeze on doctors and nurses is a political choice.

    Health New Zealand directs hospitals to restrict roles, limit overtime in frontline freeze

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2024/04/health-new-zealand-directs-hospitals-to-restrict-roles-limit-overtime-in-frontline-freeze.html

    https://twitter.com/drkiwicj/status/1781251960978788461

    • Patricia Bremner 11.1

      angry "No No, we won't affect Frontline Workers" Liar Liar pants on bloody Fire.

      • Mike the Lefty 11.1.1

        What National won't (and can't) explain is how the "front line workers" will be able to do their jobs effectively without the admin staff – "the bureaucrats" as National calls them.

        Front line workers depend on their support staff. Support staff do a lot of the donkey work – make the appointments, research the background material, write the correspondence, make sure shifts are covered, make sure the cars are serviced and ready to go, rearrange schedules when someone is sick etc…….

        If front line staff have to start doing this because the NACTZ have sacked the support workers in a binge ideological fervour – it will make the front line workers a whole lot less effective. Front line workers are only as good as their support workers assist them to be, but National never mention that.

        But National's propaganda game is in talking big money numbers in such a way as to make their efforts look more impressive.

        For instance notice how Police Minister Mark Mitchell told media that the police had rejected the latest pay offer even though it was $25 million more than the first one. Note he actually said "a quarter of a billion dollars" because it sounds a whole lot more impressive than if you say "25 million dollars", even though it is exactly the same.

    • bwaghorn 11.2

      Ban private health care and insurance, then the fuckers will fix new Zealand s health care

    • Ad 11.3

      But clearly we have too many public servants, and it's bloated because Jacinda hired too many, and they're all unproductive backroom paper shufflers.

  12. Ad 12

    Huge shoutout to all those brave workers at the Volkswagen plant in Tennessee who have successfully fought to form a union with the United Auto Workers.

    https://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/tennessee-volkswagen-workers-vote-join-uaw-historic-win-union-rcna148656

    One in the eye for VW and great job UAW team and all their supporters!

  13. Morrissey 13

    “This creature from hell…”
    Israeli ambassador to NZ Ran Jaakoby gets 45 minutes free air time

    Q+A, TVNZ1, Sunday 21 April 2024, 9 a.m.

    Poor old Jack Tame found it hard to hide his disgust. Most of the time he looked troubled, and probably wanted to say more than he was allowed to say in this carefully controlled encounter. Unfortunately for his credibility, Tame kept nodding and saying "mmmmm" as that practiced liar ranted about Iran and said things like "Boats filled with aid are coming from Cyprus…" and "I can't live side by side with this vicious beast" and “Israel is targeting enemies and those enemies happen to be hiding behind civilians…”

    Result: 45 minutes of free, barely interrupted propaganda from Ran Yaakoby; Tame even nodded along as the ambassador repeated the discredited lie about "rapes, gang rapes…"

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